Community Engagement

Listing for current community engagement events
Community Engagements

Community is a word that permeates every aspect of UCCS. The UCCS vision includes a statement that UCCS will provide “unsurpassed, student-centered teaching and learning, and outstanding research and creative work that serve our community, state, and nation.” In fact, The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) named UCCS one of two national leaders in community engagement efforts. The School of Public Affairs and its students, both undergraduate and graduate, are UCCS leaders in a commitment to the community and community engagement.

Both Bachelor of Arts and Master degree students are encouraged to see the direct relationship of their education to the greater community in many ways.

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

BACJ Engagement and Academic Development Series

Criminal Justice Society under the leadership of Paul Guidry, Instructor

Internships (Internship Manual)

Master of Public Administration and Criminal Justice

Classes which balance theoretical and practical, for example

PAD 6115 Grantwriting students find funding and prepare grant applications, including oral presentations to funding panels and plan effective site visits.

PAD 5110 Nonprofit Management students, as part of the class, complete a project based upon their volunteering for a local nonprofit

Capstone project

A client-based project which demonstrates every student’s ability to integrate the knowledge and skills gained from the degree program into an applied project which contributes something of significance and utility to the public, nonprofit and criminal justice sectors.

The UCCS School of Public Affairs faculty are committed to its vision.

to enable students and professionals to discover a vast world of ideas, research, case studies and perspectives that can propel them years ahead in their ability to think analytically about society’s issues.

Faculty as models of commitment to community.

  • Membership and leadership in professional organizations
  • Service on Boards of Directors
  • Volunteering

Communities partnering with the UCCS School of Public Affairs are integral to the the School of Public Affairs mission to prepare the next generation of leaders in public service and criminal justice professions to solve society's most pressing problems.

Community partnering for excellence in education by contributing knowledge at all levels

The School of Public Affairs and its students Lead. Solve. Change. in communities and as engaged community members.

Upcoming Events


February 27: Exploring Academic Writing
  + Introduction to the characteristics of academic writing
  + Matching your product to the assignment:an overview of the essay, research paper, literature review, position paper,   case study, and other types of written products

March 20: The Writing Process
+ Organizing your time and your paper
  + Proofreading, editing, and rewriting
  + Avoiding potential plagiarism pitfalls

April 17: Effective Research Skills
+ Efficient research strategies
  + Where to go to find the best sources
  + How to evaluate sources

Past Events

UCCS Criminal Justice Society Movie Night
Wednesday, March 14, 5:00pm to 8:30pm UC 302 Theatre
sponsored by the UCCS Criminal Justice Society

DEA Special Agent Matt Barden
Monday, March 5, 5:00pm to 7:00pm UC 302 Theatre
sponsored by the UCCS Criminal Justice Society

BACJ Engagement Series Internship Panel
Monday, March 5, 1:40pm to 4:20pm Centennial Hall 106
sponsored by the UCCS School of Public Affairs

KT Leonard from the Colorado Meth Project
Thursday, February 16, 12:30pm to 2:00pm UC 302 Theatre
sponsored by the UCCS Criminal Justice Society

CJ Society Supports JA Rock n'Bowl
sponsored by the Criminal Justice Society

Team One Adam-12 ‘s bowled for Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado Saturday, February 16, 2011 at their JA Rock ‘n Bowl event. "Junior Achievement teaches young people how business really works. We use hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life. In partnership with business and educators, Junior Achievement brings the real world to students and opens their minds to their potential". Website:

El Paso County Sherrif's Office Reports on Gangs
sponsored by the Engagement and Academic Development Series
Gangs 1Gangs 2El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Meyer presented on gangs and gang related issues in El Paso County to students and community members on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 from 4:30 PM - 6:00 p.m. Between 40 and 50 individuals attended the event.




CJ Society Supports Christmas Unlimited Toy Drive
sponsored by the Criminal Justice Society
Toy DriveThe UCCS School of Public Affairs Criminal Justice Society held a toy drive to support Christmas Unlimited's efforts to supply toys to children in need in the Colorado Springs area. The drive was held from December 8th through the 15th.
The society collected $210.10 in cash donations. Every dollar that was collected was worth $10.00 to purchase toys. In addition, the group collected 105 toys.
Paul Guidry explained that the group of ten meets regularly to discuss its activities. Paul Guidry, Instructor at the UCCS School of Public Affairs, is the group's advisor. His goal with the group is to promote volunteerism and community engagement, both on the UCCS campus and out in the Colorado Springs community.
The mission statement of the UCCS Criminal Justice Society is to promote and further enhance knowledge through active and meaningful discussion of the criminal justice system.
Pictured with the donated toys are Ramona Ellison-Lewis -- Chair; Paul Guidry --Advisor; Chelsea Ball - Secretary and Ethan Prentice -- Vice Chair.

Pendulum Foundation Fights Kids Getting Life
sponsored by the Engagement and Academic Development Series
Mary Ellen JohnsonOn October 28, 2010 students had an opportunity look into a different side of their state and community and their studies. The session started with the showing of Frontline's "When Kids Get Life." The United States is one of the few countries in the world that allows children under the age of 18 to be prosecuted as adults and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Currently there are more than 2000 of these young offenders imprisoned for the rest of their natural lives. Colorado has approximately 50 juveniles serving life without parole; "When Kids Get Life" focused on the stories of five these juveniles in Colorado. Mary Ellen Johnson with the Pendulum Foundation, a juvenile justice advocacy organization founded by the parents of one such child, guided a discussion with UCCS students.


Community Inmates Share Feeling about Homicide and Penal System
sponsored by Freshman Seminar
Powerful. That is the only word to describe the panel discussion on homicide that was part of the Homicide Freshman Seminar on Thursday, October 24,Homicide Photo 1 2010. Instructor Mike Martinez opened the session for some 100 undergraduates, most looking for a career in criminal justice. He introduced State Parole Officer Roger Harrington who gave the audience their first piece of advice, one that silenced the group, who has grown up on technology: "Remember your pen and paper!" He held up his thumb drive and admitted he used his all the time, but when technology fails or is not available, a pencil and paper will be there to serve the public safety officer who needs to take notes. He then laid the ground rule - Be respectful-- for the panel which was comprised of community inmates Thomas Payseno, convicted of 1st degree murder and Dennis Vasquez, convicted of 1st degree assault. A third offender, Eric English was unable to present due to medical issues.
Mr. Payseno started the discussion with a statement about what is wrong with the penal system: "Inside, the prisoners create fantasies. When they get outside, it is not the fantasy world they have created." He asked the students present, as individuals working in criminal justice, to "bring clients back to reality by asking them, ‘What about today?'" Mr. Payseno continued by telling the audience how he turned his life around, and it may not have been what students were anticipating: with reading and writing. He recommended among other authors and their works, Ernest Hemmingway's "The Killers." Mr. Payseno stated that an effective prison system "channels the negative behavior into positive change."
Homicide Photo 2Mr. Vasquez, 32 years old, was imprisoned when he was 15. He had served 17 years. Although he was nervous in his role as speaker, he was clear and confident in his message. He had come from a family of gang members, and he thought that gang life was what was expected of him. He thought when he was arrested that it was a joke; he simply thought that it was what he had signed on for. But there had been unintended consequences to his actions, because, in the state of Colorado, youth as young as 15 can be tried as adults. He looked out to the audience of youthful faces and said, "I don't know what it is to have a life." He continued, "We have all made mistakes at an early age which shape us today. We cannot keep locking up juveniles." Mr. Vasquez was clear that the criminal justice system needs more tools and more people to help because "we cannot give up on kids."
Both Mr. Payseno and Mr. Vasquez answered questions from the audience ranging from "Wouldn't it just be easier to stay in jail instead of trying to exist in the outside world on parole?" and "How have you adjusted to technology?" Both gave honest and open responses.
Almost 2 hours had passed when the discussion came to a close. After Officer Harrington's final remarks, the intense quiet that had filled the room was broken with soft conversations as students left filled with life lessons that extended far beyond a textbook.

BACJ Students Volunteer with Teen Court
sponsored by the Criminal Justice Society
Teen CourtFor some instructors, like Paul Guidry, community engagement means volunteering in the community. Mr. Guidry has encouraged his criminal justice students to be active in Teen Court. On October 15, 2010, Mr. Guidry and two of his students Zachary Shearer and Joseph Ruffini who volunteer with Teen Court attended the 16th birthday breakfast of the Colorado Springs Teen Court. In 2009-2010 teens and adults in volunteered over 3602 hours to Teen Court; 140 student volunteers such as Mr. Guidry's students worked with their at-risk peers in 2009-2010.



 Panel Discusses Legal Profession
sponsored by the Engagement and Academic Development Series
Legal Profession PanelOn October 13, 2010, Mr. Douglas Miles, Attorney Advisor Western Region AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence against Women; The Honorable Barney Iuppa, District Court Judge, Division 20; Ms. Denise Fiorillo, Attorney at Law; Mr. Geoffrey Heim, Attorney at Law; formed a panel to discuss the "nuts and bolts" of the legal profession with students. From this panel students learned the reasons attorneys entered the profession, where they learned the most, why they continued in the areas they were working in. They answered students' questions candidly and thoroughly giving each student the ability to form a foundation from which to make career decisions.